It has been approximately five years and 8 months since we last spent some time together. I waved to you, briefly, as I drove past last year on my way to and from Florida, but those moments were brief and do not count.
Nashville, ever since we first met in 2007, you've brought out the best in me. I didn't know how great you would be until I experienced you for the first time. I remember my best friend Sam telling me stories of you, and she crowned you here "favorite city". I couldn't imagine what would be so great about a city known for country music. What I discovered is that you are so much more than that.
I can count only a few instances where I felt, in it's total essence, BRAVE. Of those few times, I was in Nashville for most of them. There's something about the crisp of the air, the bright lights, the guitar strums that make me feel invincible. You make me feel hopeful, courageous. You make me feel at home.
It helps, of course, that I've gathered with some of my very best friends in Nashville. I think of you fondly, because I think of them. I think of walking down the streets, getting lost in a packed car, dancing on tables, discovering breathtaking views, skipping through souvenir shops, cheering on my friends as they hit the pavement, hugs in airports, and laughter in hotel rooms. I think of all the friendships we built, the secrets we shared and the way we gently encourage each other to be the best version of ourselves. I think of all of that, and I think of you, with immense glee.
For so long I thought that you and I could be together, forever. I was so comfortable, brave, and determined with you. I wanted to make you my permanent home. But as brave as I was, I was too afraid to make the leap. That might make some people sad...and for a while, I was. I still wonder what life would have been like if I had made my way to you. Maybe someday, I will find out.
But for now, I'm just visiting. I'm packing my bags and in just two days I'm heading to see you again, nearly six years later. I'll be reunited with some of those very special people who I've shared so many wonderful memories with in your city. We will, again, stand together in love, courage, and embrace each other for who we are.
And I, my dear Nashville, promise to take it all in. I will breathe your air, hear your sounds and walk your streets. I will capture it all and hold it close to my heart, where you will always be.
See you soon.